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“Difference Makers”

September 28th, 2009

Steve posted a great interview he did last week with Rob Ingram, director of the City of Portland’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention. You’ll find it here. Kids, education, the juvenile justice system, race, mentors — they covered a lot in an hour.

as always, yours, truly, Wacky Mommy

September 27th, 2009

1) as always, torn.

2) torn, torn, torn.

3) I want to read, put away the food from dinner, cook some more (crockpot steel-cut oats for breakfast, with apples and cinnamon), finish the laundry, go see what Steve is doing, snuggle with the kids, snuggle with Steve, listen to the new podcast he’s putting up, clean the house… (“I want to lock it/all up in my pocket/it’s my bar of chocolate/give it to me… now…” — Veruca Salt)

4) naw, I’m not manic. Or maniacal. We just got home from the beach — funny thing, no one cleaned the house while I was gone. Steve took us for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary a month late.

5) because I told him, You spending the week in Iowa with the kids, then zipping home just in time for a half-day of our anniversary, and you were jet-lagged and exhausted because you PARTIED the whole time you were gone and apparently forgot to sleep? That, my spousal equivalent, does not count as an anniversary. So there.

6) smart man. decided we should rent a house on a quiet, fairly deserted part of the beach, in a teeny-tiny town, eat vast quantities of food, drink a bottle of champagne while we watched the sun set and…

7) …watch hours and hours of Spongbog (ha! i’m leaving that typo. Spongbog it is, from this day forward) and America’s Funniest Home Videos.

8) Thas right, folks, we had 2 medium-sized blonde children with us. They had fun, too! We ate an entire bag of double-stuff Oreos between the four of us! And had hot cocoa!

9) You know who’s calling right now? Restless Housewives. Season premiere. Forget the cooking and the tidying and the reading of good literature. I have ABC to watch.

10) bye and please have a great week.

11) ps I have another blog. It’s about books. If you don’t already have the address, plz e me and I will send it to you.

12) yours, as always, stay sweet, WM

“Are they chocolate eggs?” — Veruca Salt

foodie tips of the day

September 22nd, 2009

* Much funner to watch the Food Network than it is to actually cook dinner. JUST SAYIN’. My favorites: the Deens, What Would Brian Boitano Make? and any show where they bake cakes or pies and say snarky things behind each other’s backs and TO each other’s faces.

* Why do we have fancy cable now, not just boring cable like we had before? One word: NHL. This is Hockey God’s anniversary gift from me, I love him so. Show I most don’t “get”: ICarly. Second show I most don’t get: Spongebob. No, don’t bother to explain, they’re both over my head.

* DANCING WITH THE STARS, NIGHT TWO. Tonite. Be there. Vote for Debi and Maks.

* Candy corn + peanuts = tastes just like a Payday candybar.

* Only I don’t happen to have those items, so I put together a canapes platter that consisted of the following: grapes, strawberries, Newman’s Own pretzels (“Crunchy relives stress! It sends your endorphins to their happy place” (or something) — Lady on Food Network, chirping and grocery shopping) and some saltwater taffy that Steve brought us from the beach. One of the flavors is… lavender? WTH? Weird, but tastes good. Fancy taffy guy.

* He took our girl and her best friend for a late birthday getaway. She wanted to do this instead of a birthday party. Nice idea! Nice dad to agree to it.

* All for now, ta-ta.



from my sister…

September 21st, 2009

Definition of the day:

Deja Fu: The feeling that somehow, somewhere, you’ve been kicked in the head like this before.”

Yeah, it’s Monday all over again.

On Raymond Carver, Tess Gallagher, love and tomatoes

September 20th, 2009

E: “You notice how every conversation we have starts sounding like ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’?”
me: “Yeah. Kinda funny. I love Carver.”
E: “We’re okay writers, but we’ll never be as good as Carver.”
me: “We could still try.”
(we both laugh, knowing there’s no hope.)

— conversation between E, my college lover, and me, circa 1989

“If this sounds like the story of a life, okay.” — Raymond Carver

“It’s a dangerous mission. You/could die out there. You /could go on forever.” — Tess Gallagher from “Instructions to the Double”

“You don’t know how strong you are until strong is your only choice.” — quote of the day, from my cousin’s friend

There is a good interview with Tess Gallagher (Raymond Carver’s widow) in today’s Oregonian. Jeff Baker wrote it — he always does a nice job with his stories. (His profile last month of author Katherine Dunn was great, too.)

Kinda funny, how much Carver has impacted my life. How? I cannot tell you, it’s private. I think of him when I write, when I cry, when I eat a good piece of bread. I think of him when I think of certain birthday cakes and certain bakers. I think of him when I see bad teeth, when I get scared out of my head, when I rage. I think of him when I read bad writing and I wish they were hitting it and quitting it instead of wasting my time. I read him for the first time, I loved his writing, I re-read him, my admiration for him got stronger, I edited the literary magazine at my college, I sent Tess Gallagher a note. Would she consider sending me a poem for my little magazine? She would. She did. It was a great poem. (“Why We Don’t Remember the Future,” Portland Review, Vol. 36, No. 3, July, 1990.) I thought to myself, Self, that is one classy dame. (Do you know her work? Do you know his? Go read them, they’re great.) (If their writing upsets you, please don’t blame me. They don’t write mushy-mushy, so get ready.)

Now I read that she is doing okay, has found new love, has her dogs, her writing, her work to keep Ray’s work in print, and up to their standards. She would like to see more of his original stuff in print. Original the way it was written, not the way it was slashed and edited. I admire her for doing this, for still being his partner, even 21 years after his death. (How can he have been gone for more than two decades already?)

It’s good that I didn’t marry E. I think of him sometimes, with good thoughts in my heart, not evil. He was so skittish; I was so worried, even then. For good reason.

On E’s desire to have a large family with me: “We could have 10 babies, and they’d wear shoes sizes 2 to 12.”

Yeah. I would have never married Steve, and had these two particular children. I like all three of ’em. What if I’d married E? I might have had double that, and possibly more losses than the two I’ve already had. Would I be able to write at all, if I’d had more children? Maybe. Would I have gone into library work? I love library work. Impossible to believe, even for me, but I love it more than writing. I’m so competitive with other writers in some areas, but as far as library work goes, I want to share all the love, all the time.

I will still write. Will I ever get a book published? Maybe.

For this afternoon, I’ll finish vacuuming the office. I just picked a huge bowl of ripe, juicy tomatoes. I bought bell peppers, garlic and onions at the store. I’ll take all that, plus salt, pepper, oregano, sugar and hot sauce, and make a big pot of marinara and add fresh basil when it’s done. I may run my son’s friend home; maybe his mom will get tired of waiting for us and come get him. I’ll think about pulling an old manuscript out of the box where it lives upstairs. Maybe I’ll redline it and do another re-write. I’ve sent it out so many times I don’t care anymore, but I’d like to leave something for my kids, anyway. Something more impressive than what I’ve got.

Me, just now, to my rowdy son and his rowdy friend: “Get out of here please, I’m trying to write.”

Yeah, I’m fine with Hockey God, the two kids, plus their assorted friends. My library work, my students, my writing, my garden. My tears. I am so lucky to have so much. For the first time in a long time, they’re tears of joy, not grief. That’s something. That’s plenty. The inscription on Carver’s grave reads:

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

hello, internets

September 20th, 2009

what’s going on? turns out that September is beautiful.

happy sunday to yins.


this one’s going out to my Wacky Little Cousin…

September 15th, 2009

My cousin is funny. I mean, all of my cousins are funny, but this one is extra-funny. Her kid? He’s the funniest one of us all. Just turned three and I gotta say — he already knows how to grab life by the balls.

(If my friend Ralphie were here he’d say, “Is it alright to say that here? ‘Life’?”)

Did you catch this? It’s a little talk they had in the car…

wc2.3: Mama, did you know that video….? (trails off)

me: killed the radio star? (chuckling)

wc2.3; What?

me: Never mind. You’re too young.

wc2.3; NO! Video GAME! Do you know about video GAMES?

me: Nope. Sorry, buddy.

wc2.3: Hm. Maybe we can get one at the store.

Yes, son, that’s the first music video MTV ever aired… that’s right! It’s the Buggles with Video Killed the Radio Star.

How about this little classic, Wacky Cousin 3.0?

I was at a party with a bunch of punk rockers one time and that song came on. They all just completely lost their shit. Started singing along, doing the little Axl Rose snakey dance. I was thinking, You have all just completely lost your punk rock credentials, right there.

This next one is dedicated to Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless, who really does Give Love a Bad Name.

That’s all. Goodnight. Oh, yeah. And if you don’t start leaving me some comments, you people, I’m shutting this thing down. I mean it. Don’t test me I’m not in the mood.



PS — Just because I know that Wacky Cousin 3.0 is going to be a total rocker when he grows up… here’s one he’s going to love the hell out of when he’s a teenager:

PSS — I’m basically writing this thing for TOL and my cousin right now, cuz they’re the only ones who read it. My sister and mom say they’re reading it, but they’re lying.

show some respect for the Man

September 14th, 2009

re: Wilson screaming, You lie! at our esteemed President… I’m thinking…

“Black is the new president, bitch.” — Tracy Morgan

Ha. That’s what my late grandma would say. Ha! Yes, she voted for Obama. My Arkansas grandma voted for Obama. I have never been so proud.

I’m reading “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” right now and I’m thinking — okay, it was written in 1976 (won the Newbery Medal in 1977), is set in 1933, skillfully deals with racism, KKK, lynchings, night riders — and this book is (UNFORTUNATELY) so relevant today. Go read it. Stay educated. Speak up!

webcasting at Chez Rawley…

September 14th, 2009

Yep. Steve is audio slave.

Facebook is killing my blog

September 13th, 2009

It really is.

The End.



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